resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
July, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 07
Healing Comes From Within
By Bruce Baltz
As massage therapists, our role is to initiate the natural healing process that lives within each one of us. But due to life's circumstances, our bodies are not always our best friends. We are trained at a very young age to hold in emotions and not express our feelings.As we get older most of us don't even recognize the turmoil that we have created inside our own bodies. As adults we have become quite proficient at masking our feelings to the point that it makes our day-to-day lives seem quite healthy; however, if we look at our lives a little closer we will find that a great deal of our imbalances is based on our reactions to fear. Most of us are taught that there will be consequences if we don't act a certain way or live up to certain expectations. So, as you can see, a pattern develops that does not necessarily work to our advantage.
First, we need to acknowledge that we are carrying emotional baggage that can be the root cause of many of our physical imbalances. We then have to look at the systems of the body and how they are affected unconsciously. Studies have shown that the autonomic nervous system holds the key to many of our physical discomforts and problems. Stress and fear are two of the most notable causes that directly correlate to the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, better known as dysautonomia.
The chain of communication starting with the hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary gland and then the adrenal gland. These three glands produce many of the hormones that we need to keep the body in balance. But stress and fear tend to overload our systems to the point of losing touch with our overall well-being.
The autonomic nervous system is broken into three parts: sympathetic (flight or fight), parasympathetic (rest and digest) and the enteric brain (digestive brain). Dr. Paul Canali of the Evolutionary Healing Center in South Florida has been a pioneer in the search for therapies that positively affect the autonomic nervous system. According to Dr. Canali, "The autonomic nervous system was always thought to be just that - automatic, motor-like, reflex-like, in neutral. It doesn't matter if a car suddenly cuts you off on the freeway or your boss tells you you're fired, your autonomic system reacts the same way. Muscles contract, blood pressure goes up, digestion stops, your heart races, these are but a few of the many reactions activated in the body's autonomic nervous system survival mode. The good news is that the autonomic nervous system also has a built-in healing network that can override years of painful stress and trauma.
"This part of the system allows for the deepest of human emotion, feeling of safety, love, and hope to be activated. These are what I call autonomic afferents, and they can receive information by specific sensory stimulation to free the nervous system that is stuck in a desperate survival mode. As much as 85 percent of modern disease may be due to the stress of being stuck in autonomic survival mode."
One of the most important steps in the healing process is to have our bodies recognize that there is a problem in the way our autonomic nervous system function. One of the ways to accomplish this is to bring attention to the system, which is already overloaded. Bringing awareness into different areas of our body can do this by touch.
The work can be done through contact to cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions of the spine and their surrounding tissues. Dr. Canali is the developer of the Enteric Brain Technique; he has also found that working with specific visceral stimulation with cognitive support will affect the enteric brain portion of the autonomic nervous system. The enteric brain is literally our second body brain. It controls and produces dozens of healing chemicals. Ninety-five percent of the body's serotonin, the anti-depression/ecstasy molecule is stored here.
According to Dr. Canali, "The enteric brain is the gateway to the parasympatic system's most influential nerve - the vagus nerve - which, when given the proper support, can send a powerful message to the brain; that is, to slow down, rest, digest and most importantly to heal."
Dr. Canali and I are experimenting with the use of temperature with both hot and cold stonework and a massage table that has a heated water bladder instead of a foam pad* to see what the effects may be on the autonomic nervous system. One of the things the autonomic nervous system controls is body temperature; vasoconstriction or vasodilatation of blood vessels does this. Interestingly, this same reaction is part of the fear or stress response. When the nervous system senses danger, it contracts the surface blood vessels and muscles, and shunts the blood to the deeper more powerful survival muscles. Unfortunately, we can become stuck in this contracted survival mode. The use of hot and cold therapy seems to be one of the ways to turn off this survival reflex. Dr. Canali and I believe in the healing powers of hydrotherapy and are very optimistic on the direct correlation temperature will have on the systems in the body.
Lets look at a common scenario: A client comes in with an acute injury and after a duration of time, it will become chronic. Depending on the response your client has, the treatment, and what the client is willing to do to help him/herself, this chronic stage could turn into adaptation. When we adapt to a condition, our body compensates for imbalances. At this time, we become our worst enemy. Our internal systems start to change; our physical function is affected, and pain is the most likely outcome.
One of the last phases of adaptation is disease, which often results in depression and frustration. It's much easier to work within this framework sooner rather than later. We as human beings have to take responsibility for our internal well-being and recognize our body's natural healing powers. We are looking to open the communications system that exists within us so that it will better serve us in order to maintain optimal health. Over-stimulation on almost every level means that our body no longer has that "rest to digest" stage. The stress from our everyday lives, (jobs, society, relationships) all contribute to this, overloading our systems, which cause imbalance and disease.
In order to be of greater benefit to our clients, our approach must be multidimensional. The physical bodywork is only one piece of the puzzle. When we look at the physical, there is also a nutritional component that needs to be addressed. Without the proper nutrients, our bodies will not be able to produce the essential chemical reactions that are necessary to maintain optimal function. Then there is the emotional/spiritual side. There are as many ways of tapping into this realm as our physical modalities for the body. It is imperative that whatever modality is utilized, the client must also resonate with it. Doctors and therapists must have the proper training and education to back up their protocol of treatments.
As massage therapists, we have the ability to initiate communication with the autonomic nervous system in profound ways. First, we must gain the trust of our clients on an emotional and physical level. Once this is done, our bodies will do the rest.
*The Mermaid table, produced by Golden Ratio.
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